If you’re like me, you try hard to remain positive, look on the bright side, and count your blessings.
But some days, you just can’t …
I’ll never forget one day during my student-teaching in a second grade classroom. Early in the year, one student, a stringy-haired boy with scabby knees, was having a bad day. He eventually crawled under a table and refused to come out. I was eager to prove myself to the lead teacher, so I rushed across the room to coax him.
None of my persuading was working:
“Come on out, you’re missing all the fun! Your friends are looking for you at the Craft Corner. You are so good at reading…!” In fact, the more I talked, the further under the table he scooted.
Finally, the veteran teacher walked over, asked me to keep an eye on the rest of the class, and did something that changed me forever…
She crawled under the table, too.
A raised hand from across the room pulled me away, but I continued to watch them carefully. Neither of them spoke or moved for several minutes. Just as I started to doubt the teacher’s strategy, I saw the boy reach down to a scab on his knee and turn his head toward her. Finally, they were talking.
After several more mysterious minutes, he crawled out, walked over to the Reading Nook, and flopped down on a bean bag with a friend and a worn copy of If You Give a Moose A Muffin.
The teacher emerged more slowly, with creaking knees, a stiff back, but a warm smile.
She surveyed the room before offering me an explanation:
“Sometimes, you just need someone to admit life is hard.”
I nodded. Class dismissed.
Life is hard.
Those words can raise the roof a bit. Especially when it seems like you’re the only one under the table.
I’ve been there. Haven’t you? Some days, I search every corner of life’s classroom for someone like me. But it seems as though everyone’s dancing in the Music Area, no one has doubts in the Science Center, and answers come easy to those in the Math Corner.
I guess I’ll head to Pretend Play again…
But some days you just want a little honesty. So you crawl into the shadows – because nothing else feels real.
And when they notice you, well-meaning Christians are good at tossing scraps to live by:
“You have so much to be grateful for.”
“Stand on God’s promises.”
“Your joy will attract others for the Lord.”
But scraps from above are hard to choke down. And the tossing down makes you feel more alone than ever.
Christians forget we weren’t meant to stand above. We forget we can’t fix it.
But we can step into your dark place and whisper: Life is hard. You aren’t alone.
Jesus stooped low to meet us. He entered into the worst of brokenness to rescue us. He’s about love, truth, and an outrageous pursuit.
And as His Church, God calls us to bring His love to a hurting world. It’s in the bending of our own creaking knees and stiff backs that we can truly reach others with it.
This is my Body. Broken for you.
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26-27
Are you under the table today? Are you choking on a gospel that doesn’t start with fellowship in the suffering? Then it’s the wrong one, my friend.
Reject the platitudes, the fake smiles, and the gratitude journals until you receive the Gospel of Christ right where you are. God will send an honest soul your way…
Pretend Play gets old. Sometimes, you just need someone to lay in the dark with you while you pick some scabs.
Before you can dance again.